தமிழர்களே ஜாக்கிரதையாக இருங்கள்.
Cleric faces rape charges
Friday, August 05, 2011
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General Superintendant of the All Nations Christian Fellowship Epeli Ratabacaca smiles at supporters while leaving the Suva Magistrates Court yesterday. Picture by: ELIKI NUKUTABU.
ALL Nations Christian Fellowship general superintendent Reverend Epeli Ratabacaca was granted bail by the Suva Magistrates Court after he appeared yesterday afternoon charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault.
Mr Ratabacaca appeared in a courtroom crowded with family members of followers of the Christian denomination.
He is alleged to have committed the offences in June this year at Sports City in Laucala Bay, Suva.
Plea was not taken as police prosecutor Vinesh Prasad made an application for the matter to be transferred to the High Court.
He said the charges under the Crimes Decree were indictable offences which the Magistrates Court did not have the power to preside over.
He said Mr Ratabacaca should not be allowed bail as the offence was very serious and carried a term of life imprisonment.
Mr Prasad said the matter was of public interest and there was a possibility the accused would interfere with prosecution witnesses.
He said Mr Ratabacaca held a high position in the ANCF Church and by committing the offence he had breached the trust of many people.
Defence counsel Filimoni Vosarogo said according to the Bail Act, bail was a matter of rights.
He said prosecution's objections must be accompanied by evidence as the Bail Act warranted.
Mr Vosarogo said bail should only be denied if the court was satisfied the accused would not appear in court on the given dates.
He said in his bail application he had outlined the conditions his client was willing to follow along with details of the two sureties.
Magistrate Nanise Ratakele granted bail of $5000 with two sureties with the same amount.
Mr Ratabacaca was ordered to report three times a week to the Samabula Police Station and surrender his travel documents. He was warned not to interfere with prosecution witnesses.
The two sureties were given time until 4pm today to also surrender their passports.
The case will be called in the High Court on August 19.